Talk: Orhan Esen

Salt Beyoğlu

June 12, 2013 17.00 – 20.00

Taksim Square, 1960s                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Taksim Meydani, 1960’lar<br />
SALT Arastirma, Söylemezoglu Arsivi
Taksim Square, 1960s

SALT Research, Söylemezoğlu Archive

SALT Beyoğlu, Walk-in Cinema

Imagining a center for İstanbul / Imagining İstanbul from the center: Taksim

“We spent our last week, last month, last year, last ten years, regularly discussing Taksim in changing contexts; before, it wasn’t different. We just took the discussion to the next level; we changed the means. The question of ‘how to intervene in Taksim’ has long been synonymous with how to make the city, even the country, appear. Now we have begun talking about Turkey through the mediation of Taksim. Spatio-politics have become the medium for writing a subtext for the new constitution.” – Orhan Esen

Independent urban researcher, writer and guide Orhan Esen will take a look at the history of Taksim becoming a space of centrality, within the context of modernization in Ottoman Empire / Turkey since early 19th century. In his talk at SALT Beyoğlu, he will delve into the current project’s paradigm, the idea behind the “Barracks-Mall for profit.”

Esen is interested in the performance of the city in which he lives, the fields of shelter, transportation, environment and identity-formation and essentially providing city dwellers reasonable conditions in which to live. He studied social and economic history and, later, the history of art and architecture in İstanbul and Vienna. As a guide, he finds it important to let his guests perceive İstanbul with all its “mediocrities”—beyond its monumental building stock; his interest extends from the historical to the extant. He believes that showing and sharing the city is an effective method for developing spatial awareness. Making an effort to be a vigilant, active and participating resident of the city, he works with various civilian, academic, artistic and political platforms, and writes, speaks, produces and organizes projects. Understanding and intervening in the dynamics of urban change are his primary concerns. Esen published Self Service City: İstanbul (2005) with Stephan Lanz in Berlin, which he considers his second city.

The talk will be held in English.